“Why would Cole lose the throne if someone found you were let in here?” I asked curiously, still holding the knife up to Cole’s neck. I had let him relax a bit so that I could, too, but I wasn’t going to let him go entirely until I’d gotten all the information I wanted.
The first boy looked frustrated that he was even saying it. His brown eyes glinted in frustration. “Because the kingdoms aren’t exactly at peace with each other. Each one wants to steal someone else’s property and everything’s just a mess.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you trying to talk yourself out of replying to me? You should know, I’m the expert on that.” I couldn’t stop my eyes from sparkling. I was drunk on power and all of me buzzed.
Justice opened her mouth, but the boy sent her a look.
I studied him, noting the way he naturally commanded attention. “You’re from the boat.”
Everyone in the room stiffened.
“What?” The boy said, trying to be nonchalant.
A slow, devious smile spread across my face. “You’re Zach, aren’t you?” His silence said everything. “You know, I almost didn’t recognize you without your blue attire.”
I looked over at Justice. “Nice to see you again, Princess.”
She looked straight at me, her face not moving. Her cheek twitched as she forced herself not to look at Cole.
I smiled at her, taking in a powerful breath. “Nice try. I already know how you feel about Coley here.”
Cole growled at the nickname.
“Oh, hush.” I smiled down at him, a threatening edge in my voice. “You love the nickname.”
His eyes burned into me, but he wisely stayed silent.
“Now,” I looked back at the other four. I looked at the two that I didn’t know yet. “Who are you?”
The other girl swallowed nervously, trying to shrink back. The boy put his arm around her and glared at me.
Another smile spread across my face, but this time, I wasn’t amused. “I asked who you were.” This time it came out as a snarl. I looked back at my knife, a peaceful expression coming across me. “After all, you’re the one who doesn’t want Coley here to hurt a bit.”
“August,” The girl said softly.
I raised an eyebrow, knowing there was something she wasn’t saying. “And who exactly are you, August? Surely all these royals wouldn’t suddenly take in a commoner.”
Everyone in the room seemed to take in a sharp breath.
“Don’t you dare accuse us of being condescending.” Zach hissed. “We have reasons behind what we do.”
I looked at him innocently. “I’m not accusing you of anything, but as far as I know, you could all be serial killers. I mean, you brought me in here because you thought I was a poor defenseless girl. How am I to know that you didn’t bring me here just to have pleasure in my pain.” My wild side came out and when I finished speaking, I panted holding back a wild urge to attack, defend, or run. I wanted to move and do something more than sit immobile. I calmed myself, reminding myself that information would help me more.
“I didn’t think you were a poor defenseless girl,” Cole managed.
I looked at him, slightly surprised at his audacity. “Really? Would you like to enlighten me?”
Even though they wouldn’t admit to it, the other four listened intently. Cole didn’t even look at them. Instead, he calmly met my gaze. The swirling emotions in his eyes belied his expression.
“You didn’t fall asleep because of the sleeping gas,” He said finally.
“What do you mean? Of course, she did.” Zach looked confused.
Cole didn’t even look at him. “If you had fallen asleep because of the sleeping gas,” He said, replying to me instead of him. “You wouldn’t have woken up until we gave you either the antidote or the gas thinned.”
I raised an eyebrow at him, silently ordering him to go on.
He swallowed, eyeing the knife that I still held. “Only a few people have managed to pull themselves out of the effects of the gas and they ended up having such bad headaches that they wished they’d stayed asleep. You didn’t have a headache and we always do a check of the ship after we pump the gas to give the workers the antidote and find all the stowaways before we ship off. You obviously can get up onto the support beams, but I highly doubt you slept up there. I would’ve heard you fall and from that distance, you wouldn’t be feeling as great as you are now.” He said it like it was a bad thing. Like he knew what was going through my mind.
Inexplicably, the feeling of power faded to a dull thrum. I immediately felt a loss, but I also felt a bit guilty that I’d gotten so controlled so quickly. I looked away. “Okay, so your point is what? Unlike you, I have all the time in the world.”
Cole looked like he’d rather do anything other than say the words, but his life must’ve been worth a lot to certain people because he finally spoke. “It means, that you have royal blood in you.” He looked up at me as the rest of the group gasped. Out of the corner of my eye, they paled. Satisfaction filled me at the sound, but I kept watching Cole.
“Royal blood,” I sneered at him, my gut clenching with hope. It felt so foreign. “I was born on the streets. I don’t even remember my real parents. All I had were gang members and my own abilities to keep me alive. If I’m to believe you, where were my parents when I needed them?” I paused, laughing humorlessly. “Or was I illegitimate? That would explain everything, wouldn’t it?”
“No,” Zach said darkly, looking anywhere but at me. I looked over at him to see his fists clenched. “That would mean you were a part of the white family.” He looked right into my eyes. “And that would mean that you have the power to rule over all of us.”